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English PhD

The PhD in English requires 90 semester hours beyond the bachelor’s degree or 60 semester hours beyond the master’s, including 36 hours of core coursework, 9-12 hours in an area of specialization, 3-6 hours in electives, and a 9-hour dissertation.

Foreign Language

  1. 12 sh of appropriate undergraduate-level classes, or
  2. 6 sh of graduate-level French for Reading, or
  3. Dept. FLPE

Residency Requirements for the PhD

Generally, those who wish to teach English on the college level seek the PhD in English; therefore, we require that students have teaching experience before completing the degree. Students may fulfill this requirement as a teaching assistant in our program for at least one academic year, substitute teaching in another setting (such as at a community college, high school, or other academic institution) by making the request to the department in writing as part of the application to the program. If students cannot serve as a teaching assistant and have no teaching experience, they must consult with and make special application to the Director of Graduate English Studies to be considered for the doctoral program.

Residency Requirements

Students must complete a residency. The purpose of the residency is to provide access to faculty mentoring and instruction. Students may satisfy residency requirements in two ways:

  1. Teach as a teaching assistant for at least one academic year (carrying at least the minimum course load to maintain the assistantship) and the successful completion of ENG 675.  Teaching assistants', will be mentored and observed in both the Writing Center and in teaching assistants' classroom. In addition students will be expected to observe others as they tutor and teach. Students will be expected to participate in the annual conference English Graduates for Academic Development and encouraged to submit and present papers for presentation in regional and national conferences. Students will be expected to attend meetings of Junto (the graduate student organization for professional development), held once a month during regular semesters. Students will also be expected to be advised and to maintain contact with the Graduate Director of English Studies periodically to make sure you are on track to complete your degree.
  2. Without the one-year teaching assistantship and ENG 675, students are required to take no fewer than four classes each academic year for two years, and must do so by enrolling in both the fall and spring semesters as well as at least one summer session. At least one of those courses must focus on pedagogy.

In addition, if students do not serve as a teaching assistant, they must maintain a portfolio of “residency activities” that contribute to professional development in their area of focus for each academic year prior to the completion of the comprehensive exam. The portfolio should document that development; in particular, the portfolio should be prefaced by a brief (2-3 pages) reflective analysis of the activities for that year.

Examples include:

  • Conferences and workshops (attendance, participation, organization, etc.)
  • Lectures and presentations
  • Professional development activities
  • Departmental academic advisement
  • Development of multimedia resources
  • Participation in student organizations (e.g. Junto, Doctoral Students Association, EGAD, etc.)
  • Interaction with scholars via the Internet, email, etc.

The faculty will evaluate the portfolio as part of students' annual review of academic progress. If professional development activities are judged inadequate, you will be informed within two weeks of the evaluation and asked to meet with the Director of Graduate English Studies to make a plan to enhance the portfolio to meet the faculty’s requests.


In addition to the coursework, foreign language, and residence requirements, doctoral students must take a qualifying examination. An examination, consisting of both written and oral portions, is required at or near the completion of course work and before officially beginning work on the dissertation. Consult the Director of English Graduate Studies for details about timing and structure of the PhD examination.


Requirements for the dissertation are as follows:

  1. Student writes a dissertation in the area of concentration under the direction of an adviser and two other committee members from the department, plus one member from another department.
  2. The dissertation process requires a written proposal and oral defense of the proposal before the committee. The proposal defense is open to the university community.
  3. The dissertation requires a final oral defense after completion. The oral defense is open to the university community.

Additional details regarding qualifying exams and the doctoral dissertation

Doctor of Philosophy in English

18 semester hours minimum of ENG courses.18
No less than 9 semester hours
ENG 718Doctoral Dissertation3-12
Secondary Area
6 semester hours minimum in ENG courses6
Professional Internship
21 semester hours of ENG courses21
6 semester hours of ENG courses6
Total Hours60

NOTE: No course beyond the master's program that is over ten years old at the time the doctoral degree is conferred can be used toward the doctoral degree.